Saturday, December 31, 2016

inSPIREd Sunday

Sally and Beth host inSPIREd Sunday! Sundays in my City My Sunday Photo

December 2016 - Orlando FL

We visited the Morse Museum on Friday and saw the incredible Tiffany Chapel.

As I headed in John was coming out and said he figured I'd be in there for hours. He was almost right! He finished the rest of the museum before I came out.

I was just mesmerized!!

In 1893 Louis Comfort Tiffany exhibited a chapel interior at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago that brought him international acclaim few American artists enjoyed at the time. It was installed in the Tiffany & Co. (the jewelry firm founded by his father) pavilion in the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building.

It included six ornately carved plaster arches, 16 mosaic columns, a 1,000-pound, 10-by-8-foot electrified chandelier, or “electrolier,’’ in the shape of a cross, a marble and white glass mosaic altar, a dome-shaped baptismal font, and several windows.

In 1898, a wealthy woman—Mrs. Celia Whipple Wallace—bought the chapel for the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine under construction at the time in New York City. Never placed as it was intended, the chapel was relegated to a basement crypt where its arches were cut to fit under a low, broadly vaulted ceiling. For more than 10 years (1899–1911) it functioned as a chapel at St. John the Divine and then was closed when the choir above was completed for services.

Unchecked water damage took its toll on the architecture and decoration of the chapel, and in 1916 Louis Comfort Tiffany wrote to the church of his concern that “the mosaic work has suffered” and offered to remove it at his expense.

Click here for our first visit to St. John the Divine.

Tiffany had the chapel removed and installed it, with substantial repairs by his workmen, in a free-standing building at Laurelton Hall, his Long Island country estate. There it remained as a monument to his art until 1949, 16 years after Tiffany’s death, when the Tiffany Foundation began dismantling the chapel, selling off portions to institutions in the region.

In 1957, when Tiffany’s abandoned estate was ravaged by fire, Hugh and Jeannette McKean of Winter Park, Florida, were notified by a Tiffany daughter that some of his most important leaded-glass windows were still intact. In 1930, after his graduation from Rollins College, Hugh McKean had been one of the young artists in residence at Laurelton Hall as part of a program established by Tiffany. Years later in 1942, Jeannette McKean had established a gallery-now The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art-on the Rollins College campus and named it to honor her grandfather. Her interest in Tiffany glass had prompted her to curate a show of his work at the gallery in 1955, one of the first one-man exhibitions of Tiffany work in the second half of 20th century.

The McKeans visited the devastated Laurelton Hall site, and Jeannette decided they should buy all of the mansion’s then-unwanted windows and architectural fragments. Two years later the McKeans purchased the components of the chapel that remained at Laurelton Hall.

For decades, many of the chapel elements had remained in packing crates as the McKeans researched the locations of the various chapel furnishings that had been dispersed after 1949. They systematically acquired these furnishings as they became available to keep all of the chapel parts in a single collection.

In 1996, the Board of Trustees of the Charles Hosmer Morse Foundation endorsed an expansion project for the Morse Museum that would fulfill the dream of the McKeans to reassemble Tiffany’s 1893 chapel.


  1. Beautiful windows, they can be so hard to capture well. Happy New Year. #MySundayPhoto

  2. I really love the pillars & arches behind the altar. They are beautiful